US Crash Fatalities Since 2000 Exceed American Military Personnel Deaths from Both World Wars
We all know that traffic fatalities are high on US roads, but overall, exactly how high are they? On an annual basis, they range around an average of 40,000, according to The National Safety Council.
A recent article in the Washington Post revealed something else staggering. From 2000-2017, traffic deaths in the US have added up to more than 624,000 — surpassing the 535,000 American military personnel who died in both world wars. In addition, the number of people injured on US roads during that time exceeded 30 million.
Why are there so many fatal crashes in the US?
Distracted driving has always caused fatal crashes but cellphones, other handheld devices, and infotainment systems have made distracted driving even more prevalant. Drivers are only becoming increasingly more comfortable using this technology when behind the wheel.
According to the Public Health Association and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving took nearly 78,000 lives from 2000-2017.
What's worse, the NHTSA says that during daylight hours, about 481,000 drivers use cellphones and handheld devices when behind the wheel.
Other leading factors in fatal crashes include:
- Drunk driving: Despite a decline in drunk driving fatalities since the mid-1990s, there were still 213,000 alcohol-related road deaths from 2000-2017.
- Speeding: During this same time period, speeding caused more than 197,000 traffic fatalities.
- Drowsy driving: The real number of fatalities caused by drowsy driving is unknown, since these crashes rarely produce any physical evidence. Since becoming a crash category in 2005, however, confirmed cases of drowsy driving have resulted in more than 10,000 fatalities.
How can fatal crashes be prevented?
Efforts to reduce fatal crashes are being undertaken by federal and state agencies, local municipalities, and safety advocacy groups. We're beginning to see improvements to road infrastructure, vehicle technology, and education but we're still lagging far behind, especially when it comes to changing our driving culture.
This national data shows us that human error is the leading cause of fatal crashes. Too many drivers engage in risky behavior, sometimes without giving it any thought.
“Unfortunately, our public option research has repeatedly shown that people still believe it will happen to someone else, but not to them,” said Maureen Vogel of the National Safety Council.
These crashes are preventable, but only when drivers stay attentive, sober, and alert. If you were injured in a crash or lost a loved one because of someone else's reckless and irresponsible behavior, you may be eligible for compensation. The car accident attorneys at Villari, Brandes & Giannone Attorneys at Law can help you through these difficult times. We proudly serve injured motorists in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule your free case evaluation, contact us online today.